Better weather conditions for hunting and a Friday holiday for some were the likely reasons deer registrations climbed to within seven percent of the 2010 season-to-date level after the second weekend of the 2011 firearms deer season, according to Minnesota DNR officials.
Final numbers from the second weekend show that hunters had harvested 143,000 deer after nine days, down only seven percent from the 2010 to-date harvest of 153,000. During the second weekend, hunters registered approximately 27,000 deer compared with about 22,000 last year.
"Veterans Day usually falls during the week, meaning many hunters have only Saturday and Sunday to hunt," said Lou Cornicelli, DNR wildlife research manager. "With the holiday on Friday this year, hunters had an additional day to spend in the field, and the wind was more favorable."
High winds, which tend to limit deer movement because they adversely affect a deer's hearing and scenting ability, resulted in a 19 percent decline during the first weekend of the season.
Cornicelli said he expects the final season harvest to be comparable to last year's total of 207,000 provided weather cooperates in the northern rifle zone, where the season ends Sunday.
Additional deer will be harvested during the late southeastern season, which runs Saturday, Nov. 19, through Sunday, Nov. 27, and the muzzleloader season, which begins Nov. 26, and continues through Dec. 11.